Hats off to Haywood County Brewers

Did you know? Haywood's own beers on tap in "Beer City USA"
By Paul Viau | Oct 04, 2012
Photo by: Paul Viau DUSTING OFF HIS TOP HAT — Headwaters Brewing Company's 'Friends and Family' gather at the Thirsty Monk for Haywood's Asheville debut. Pictured, from left, are (front), Jim Sandefur, Kevin Sandefur (in top hat), Jim Strater; and (back) Chris Niles and Melanie Sandefur. The top hat was provided by Antique Antics, in Waynesville.

Even if you are only an occasional reader of this column, you know that I am a big fan of beer — good beer, aka craft and/or micro-brewed beer. It’s a favorite subject (and beverage) of mine.

And — Did you know? If I had my way, there would be a column dedicated to Haywood County’s growing beer scene in the pages of The Mountaineer.

But alas, the ‘Austin Powers that be’ have denied us that privilege, even as Waynesville is making quite a name for itself in beer-friendlier towns like Asheville and Denver. (That’s Denver, Colorado — host of the Great American Beer Festival for the past 31 years; not Denver, North Carolina — where beer might be spelled PBR.

Let’s start close to home with Asheville, where Waynesville’s own Headwaters Brewing Company was recently represented in the 2012 Brewgrass Festival, and not-so-accidentally placed betwixed and between Highland Brewing Company and Green Man Brewery.

Sandwiched between these two hometown favorites, the buzz about Headwaters’ pumpkin ale was (shall we say) on everyone’s lips. In fact, at the end of the day when organizers announced, “last call” a huge crowd fought its way upstream to “the Headwaters.”

That’s quite a leap forward from two years ago, when Waynesville Chamber of Commerce’s Fire and Ice Festival, invited both Headwaters Brewing Company and Frog Level Brewing Company to show there ‘wares.’

Most festivalgoers ambled right by the ales, stouts, and porters in pursuit of all the great food options.

At Brewgrass, beer comes first, and Headwaters Brewing Company was a fan favorite. As a result, this week Headwaters was invited by Asheville’s Thirsty Monk to be the first Waynesville craft brewery featured on their Wednesday Pint Night.

Headwaters quickly went through two kegs of their Stiff Paddle IPA (Asheville really loves their IPAS.) And the Pumpkin PFD (Personal Flotation Device) got great reviews.

Bolstered by this success, Kevin Sandefur and the rest of the Headwaters Brewing Company are now headed off to Denver, Colorado (my hometown), for the Great American Beer Festival. I’m sure they will make an equally good showing.

By the way, the GABF is looking for volunteers, and I still have family in the "Mile High City."  So if you want to make trip, I can hook you up.

As for me, I’ve got a day job, so I’m going to wait patiently for Headwaters’ upcoming seasonal events:

• 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19

Oktoberfest at the Headwaters Brewing Company, 130 Frazier Street, with J. Arthur's providing traditional German food, including Schnitzel, Bratwurst, Knockwurst, Kraut, German Potato Salad, etc. Headwaters will be providing … da-Beeeeeeeeers.

Tickets are in short supply, and must be purchased in advance.

• 5 p.m. to close Saturday, Oct. 27

Costume Party & Pumpkin Ale Blow Out

$100 prize for the best costume.

Headwaters Brewing Company, at 130 Frazier St., Ste. 7, has expanded their hours. They are now open from 4  to 11 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, and from 1to 11p.m. Saturday. Call the tap room at 246-0602.

And don’t forget Haywood County’s other hometown beer outlets — Frog Level Brewing Company and The Tipping Point.

Drink local.

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